Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?
True happiness is to understand our duties toward God and man; to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future; not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient; for he that is so wants nothing. The great blessings of mankind are with us, and within our reach; but we shut our eyes and, like people in the dark, fall foul of the very thing we search for without finding it. Tranquility is a certain equality of mind which no condition of fortune can either exalt or depress. There must be sound mind to make a happy man; there must be constancy in all conditions, a care for the things of this world but without anxiety; and such an indifference to the bounties of fortune that either with them or without them we may live content. True joy is serene. . . . The seat of it is within, and there is no cheerfulness like the resolution of a brave mind that has fortune under its feat. It is an invincible greatness of mind not to be elevated or dejected with good or ill fortune. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it be - without wishing for what he has not.
Dear Lord, who made the face of me not all that I would have it be, not really homely, only plain, but strong and patient in the main. Yet one, a man apart, who found me fair and gave his heart. Now Lord, that I have grown more sage . . . into middle age. I only ask, as face grows lines of countenance, it be described as kind; that wrinkles by my eyes will show a little humor as I go; that I may view my humble scene with glance of one content, serene, through grateful, shining eyes that see the blessings you have given me.